In Bolzano, Italy, almost a quarter of the population is over the age of 65. In fact, Italy, along with Japan, has one of the oldest populations in the world. As a result, Bolzano currently spends close to half of their social programs budget on services for the elderly. This includes assisted living facilities where they receive around the clock care. But assisted living facilities can cost a city and the people who stay there vast amounts of money that, within these economic conditions, municipalities and families just don’t have. The solution: keep them in their homes where they are comfortable.
IBM’s Smarter Cities team partnered with the city to outfit a small group of elderly residents’ homes with sensors which would in turn report data back to a central database closely monitored by the city. From there, the city could dispatch a care worker to visit the home. By allowing Bolzano to keep the number of their staff members the same, the program stabilizes the city’s costs while simultaneously allowing it to care for its growing elderly population.